Vaporizing biodiesel for natural gas turbines

By | September 20, 2010

Posted Sept. 22, 2010

LPP Combustion LLC has successfully demonstrated the clean generation of green, dispatchable, renewable electric power from a 30kW Capstone C30 gas turbine using biodiesel. The LPP Combustion skid-based technology vaporizes liquid fuels into an inert gas, creating a substitute natural gas trademarked LPP Gas, which is then used to power combustion devices. The company behind the technology, LPP Combustion, has installed a demonstration unit in Columbia, Md., to obtain operational experience regarding the clean combustion of a wide array of liquid fuels, including biodiesel.

Initial demonstrations have used an LPP Combustion fuel preparation skid together with a Capstone C30 gas turbine. The Capstone turbine, designed for operation on natural gas, is connected to the local utility grid. The LPP Combustion hardware allows operation on a range of liquid fuels without modification of the combustion device, delivering LPP Gas in the same manner as natural gas.

Generally, combustion of biodiesel in gas turbines requires extra refinement of the fuel due to impurities that can be harmful to gas turbine components. However, by vaporizing the biodiesel into nitrogen before introducing it to the gas turbine as LPP Gas, the LPP Combustion hardware substantially reduces operational problems associates with conventional burning of biodiesel in gas turbines.

Emissions from the C30 gas turbine, operating at full load on LPP Gas derived from biodiesel, are 5.6 ppmv NOx and 9 ppmv CO, at 15 percent O2, improving on the baseline natural gas emissions.

The fuel tested was a canola-based biodiesel provided by Northern Biodiesel, an Ontario, N.Y.-based company. The C30 gas turbine was on loan from Harbec Plastics, a plastics manufacturer also based out of Ontario. Harbec Plastics intends to convert all 25 of its Capstone C30 gas turbines to operation on biofuels using the LPP Combustion technology, thereby eliminating the CO2 footprint from its plastics manufacturing.

LPP Combustion previously announced successful operation of the Capstone C30 gas turbine on naphtha and on ethanol using the same LPP Combustion system. LPP Gas offers the cleanest use of renewable fuels in existing or new gas turbines while providing dispatchable, green energy to meet Renewable Portfolio Standards mandates. The LPP Combustion system allows for fuel flexibility, improved heat rate, and reduced maintenance while providing a greater than 80 percent decrease in emissions associated with conventional burning of liquid fuels.

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